By Nawara Fattahova
KUWAIT: The European Union delegation to Kuwait celebrated Europe Day 2022 at Shaheed Park on Monday. Seventeen member countries of the EU participated in the one-day event with booths, where they presented their traditional foods, costumes and other cultural products.
“We are presenting here food items including different kinds of cheese, olive oil and candy, as gastronomy is a key element of Spanish culture. We also want to offer something more dynamic about our sports. Spanish football is very famous all over the world, so we are promoting the La Liga football academy in Kuwait and some symbols of the footballing history of Spain, including t-shirts and images of Spain,” Guillermo Rebollo Diez, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Spain, told Kuwait Times.
Italian Ambassador to Kuwait Carlo Baldocci noted this event is a very important celebration, through which the participants showcase a variety of products to Kuwait friends. “I think visitors liked the products we have on display, including Italian bread, pizza, olive oil, juices and others,” he said.
Founder and GM of Ta!k Cultural Hub Nof Al-Mishan said they organized the setting of the Spanish and Italian booths to include three main elements – food, sports and tourism. “We offer a virtual reality experience, through which the visitor can live the experience of visiting one of the cities. We are also holding a draw for some t-shirts signed by players from AC Milan,” she said.
Czech Ambassador to Kuwait Jaroslav Siro expressed his happiness to be one of the 17 participating EU countries in this event. Visitors had the opportunity to taste some Czech sweets that are available in Kuwait, as well as the traditional Czech rohlik bread.
Ambassador of Croatia to Kuwait Amir Muharimi said Croatia is a member of the European Union, and “we are proud to be part of this celebration of unity and diversity that includes 27 European states”. “At this event, we are showing the cravat (necktie), including its history and symbolic potential,” he said. The Cyprus booth included traditional halloumi chesses, homemade sweets, pies and patisseries.
Ambassador of Romania to Kuwait Mugurel loan Stanesccu said they are presenting traditional Romanian foods and sweets, national customs and pictures of old Romanian castles including the Bran Castle (Dracula castle). Anna Godoy Ciszkowska, Head of the Political and Economic Section at the Embassy of Poland, expressed her happiness to promote their country at this event and present a part of their culture to the Kuwait society. “We have pictures of some touristic places in Poland, sweets that are popular in Kuwait since many years, and some investment attractions in Poland,” she noted.
Ambassador of Austria Marian Alexander Wrba spoke about some of the products displayed at the Austrian booth. “Austria is known for its high-quality products available in Kuwait. Traditional Viennese chocolate, coffee with tarboosh (Julius Meinl), alpine mineral water and the finest Austrian sweets. We are glad to present these products to the Kuwaiti community,” she said.
The booth of Greece included a wide variety of traditional food products including olives, honey, olive oil and others. They also promoted Avli, a Greek restaurant in Kuwait. They also provided many brochures about Greece and the touristic sites there.
Ambassador of Malta to Kuwait Raymond Sarsero said they focused most on the tourism industry, in addition to investment and its Security Council seat. “We have displayed photos of landscapes and the sea, as we are a very well-known diving center. We are the smallest member of EU, and are celebrating diversity and unity. We are pleased to enjoy social life again after the lockdowns during the pandemic,” he pointed out.
Solidarity and unity
Although the EU Delegation in Kuwait opened in July 2019, this is the first time it held such an event, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Europe Day celebrates solidarity and unity in Europe. Today, we mark the anniversary of the historic ‘Schuman Declaration’ that set out the idea for a new form of political cooperation, which is considered as the beginning of what is now the European Union,” said EU Ambassador to Kuwait Cristian Tudor during his opening speech.
“Unfortunately, we celebrate Europe Day this year with a war raging on our borders. Ukraine has come under a brutal aggression by Russia, which targets the same values of peace, freedom and democracy on which the European Union was founded. I am confident that Ukraine will eventually prevail with the will of its people and the support of its friends in the world, including the EU,” he added.
Kuwaiti-EU relations are going from strength to strength. “The latest example of EU recognition of our strong partnership is the recent proposal of the European Commission to lift Schengen visa requirements for Kuwaiti nationals. Another example is the first visit of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs HE Mr Josep Borrell to Kuwait in March. This was the first visit at such a high level since the establishment of the EU Delegation in Kuwait. On this occasion, the High Representative had excellent discussions about the prospects to enhance EU-Kuwait cooperation with HH the Crown Prince of Kuwait Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. We are grateful to HH the Crown Prince for his strong support to EU-Kuwait ties,” Tudor stated.
“We are planning to build on what we have achieved with plans to enhance cooperation at all levels and in all fields while identifying health, food security, education, digital and green transition as priorities. Regionally, the EU highly appreciates Kuwait’s mediation efforts in the region and is ready to continue working closely with Kuwait to develop new forms of cooperation and build a stronger partnership with Gulf countries on many issues including regional security”.
“Another important area of EU-Kuwait relations is to facilitate people-to-people contacts with a special focus on the youth. The EU marks 2022 as the European Year of Youth and in this context, we have invited many young people to this event so they can learn more about Europe and its diverse cultural heritage,” he concluded.